Ross Valley Players continues its 90th Season with Silent Sky, Lauren Gunderson’s real life story about the first women astronomers, directed by Chloe Bronzan. The play will run from January 17 to February 9, 2020 at the Ross Valley Players: Barn Theatre.Synopsis: In the early 1900’s, Harvard University Observatory hired three exceptional women, Henrietta Leavitt, Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming in jobs called “computers.” The Observatory wanted to discover the answer to “Where do we fit in space?” While prohibited from actually looking through the giant telescope (that’s for the men), the women used photographic plates of images gathered by others as their source. The compelling central characters proceed with humor and determination toward their goals, while handling the very contemporary challenge of balancing families and potential romance – and their absorbing scientific quest. What did they achieve? They changed the way we see the Universe.
The South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, commissioned Lauren Gunderson to write Silent Sky, where it premiered as part of the 2011 Pacific Playwrights Festival. Ms. Gunderson, a San Francisco resident, bears the distinction as the most produced living playwright. Her plays focus on the lives of women in history, science and literature.
Director Chloe Bronzan quotes one of the play’s characters, Annie Jump Cannon, to explain why she chose this play, “In our troubled days it is good have something outside our planet, something fine and distant for comfort.”